The short hairs (Rated R)
One of the funniest things I do, and I do it a few times a year, is have my back waxed. I was born with the hairy back gene, and since I made fun of hairy-backed guys to no end when I was a kid at the beach, I can't take my shirt off in public when that natural sweater is on there.
And so when the weather gets nice, or a trip to a sunny clime is coming up, I pay a visit to my good friend Michele the Esthetician, who spends a most interesting 45-minute interlude depilating my back and shoulders.
It hurts. But we carry on a conversation about other aspects of life, as if nothing untoward is going on. Only occasionally do we dwell on the fact that my poor, pasty little Polish-Irish back is on fire. Toward the beginning of our relationship, I asked Michele if she would wear a Nazi costume during the procedure, but she declined.
Today as I once again pushed down the blood-curdling screams that were fighting their way out of me with every painful rip, I mentioned to Michele how funny the whole concept of back waxing is. "It's a standard joke for me," I said. "I tell people I'm having my back waxed. They laugh."
"That's nothing," she said, whereupon she launched into the story of her recent trip to a national esthetician convention in Las Vegas, where she witnessed the actual waxing of a man's scrotum before a live audience of dozens of beauticians. The demonstration was being conducted by the world-renowned "Wax Queen," who had just finished removing all the body hair from a young female before the same group. In both cases, the crowd was shown the minute details of the process on a large projection screen in the Las Vegas Hilton ballroom.
With the female model, the job was called "the sphinx," in which all hair is removed -- and we do mean all, from every bodily crevice, except typically not from the head. This is to be distinguished from "the Brazilian," in which a thin vertical strip of hair (which I once heard referred to as a "landing strip") is left just above the female genitals. With the guy, he left his shirt on, but removed all of his clothing below that, and the Wax Queen proceeded to wax off all the hair from the sac that contained his testes and epididymus.
Michelle had theretofore never seen anything like that in her life. Since the male subject was Hispanic -- taking time off from his regular job selling wax for the Wax Queen -- it was, as Michele put it in her inimitable style, "much darker genitalia than I'm used to seeing." And it was uncircumcised! "I don't think I've ever seen that 'live' before," Michele said, "only on a cadaver when I was in school."
The Wax Queen showed the group just how to hold the scrotum during the slathering on of the hot wax and the ripping out of the pubic hair. The audience had lots of questions for her. Some of the queries were lame: "What's the difference between a scrotum and a testicle?" But a few were quite cogent. "What if the man gets an erection during this?" Said the Wax Queen: "Ignore it. It's not sexual. Men get erections all the time. We're estheticians. We deal with it."
Do people ever get injured having their scrotum waxed? "Of course," said the Wax Queen. "You're working with wax. I once split a scrotum."
Michele summed it up thusly: "The title of the session was 'Nooks, Cracks and Crannies,' but I decided it should have been called 'Backs, Sacks and Cracks.'"
By this time, I'm howling with laughter, and the tears rolling down my cheeks are a unique mixture of physical agony and amusement. I couldn't imagine what life would be like for a guy who needed his scrotum waxed.
Friend: "Wanna do lunch on Thursday?"
Guy: "Um, I don't think so. I'm going in to have my scrotum waxed at 11:00, and I don't think I'll be in the mood."
Or: "No, I'm going in to have my scrotum waxed, and then I'm going to have to get right back to work."
Do people ever do it themselves? "I think I'm going to just stay home this weekend and wax my scrotum."
And what about the esthetician? "I'm so nervous. Today I'm waxing my first scrotum."
By the time I stop chuckling about Michele's story, my back will have long since calmed down.